Good lord. Tomorrow’s Memogate mud pit will be even more obnoxious than I thought.
All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would. But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up. Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy.
— James Comey (@Comey) February 1, 2018
I don’t want to raise expectations unrealistically but could Friday bring the return of … Emo Comey? We’ve seen him before.
In NYC to meet with my publisher. Hope leadership book will be useful. Reassuring to see Lady Liberty standing tall even in rough weather. pic.twitter.com/KIjb29k2Cg
— James Comey (@Comey) December 6, 2017
Perhaps we’ll see him again.
One X factor as the mud flies is how Senate Republicans will react to the memo. Everyone else’s reaction is predictable. House and Senate Democrats will pronounce it irresponsible and misleading, Trump and House Republicans will pronounce it a bombshell and a smoking gun of “deep state” corruption. How about Senate GOPers? There’s been a conspicuous lack of upper-chamber cheerleading for Nunes’s big scoop, even accounting for the fact that they haven’t read the memo themselves yet. Are any Republican senators chattering that they’re excited about it, have heard that it contains some serious bombshells, and so on? Not this guy:
JEFF FLAKE, joining Coons, urges Trump not to release Nunes memo. "The president’s apparent willingness to release this memo risks undermining U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts, politicizing Congress’ oversight role, and eroding confidence in our institutions of government.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 1, 2018
Right, I know — “Flake is gonna Flake.” But how about John Thune?
Mr. Thune said he thought that the Senate Intelligence Committee and its Republican chairman, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, should be allowed to see the document before its release. He also said that House Republicans should carefully consider the F.B.I.’s warning that it had “grave concerns” about making the memo public.
“They need to pay careful attention to what our folks who protect us have to say about what this, you know, how this bears on our national security,” Mr. Thune told reporters at the Republicans’ annual policy retreat at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.
Mr. Thune also called for a Democratic memo rebutting the Republican document to be shown to the public at the same time.
I suppose that, if you’re a Senate Republican, there’s really no benefit to cheerleading the Nunes memo before you’ve seen it. If you get out in front and start hyping it before it’s released, you risk having it turn out to be a dud or, worse, a serious political liability if it inadvertently compromises national security somehow. There’ll be plenty of time after the memo is released to read it and say something measured about how it’s “troubling” but we should wait for the DOJ IG’s report before passing judgment on the fine men and women of law enforcement, etc. It’s especially risky to jump too soon when the FBI is still claiming it has “grave concerns” about the memo’s release despite having vetted it by now for any potential problems in revealing intelligence sources and methods. Come tomorrow, though, Republican politicians will be under intense pressure to choose sides, and the sides that are shaping up are Team Trump and Team Mueller/FBI. Whose side are you on, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz? Do you want to MAGA by purging federal law enforcement of traitors or do you want to watch the sun set behind the Statue of Liberty with Emo Comey while listening to the Cure?
Two narratives to watch out for tomorrow morning as everyone takes their places in the mud pit and prepares for battle. From the right: Since when is congressional oversight of the Justice Department inappropriate, particularly when it involves a highly politicized investigation involving the president? Last time I checked, that’s what we pay these nobs on the Hill to do. From the left: Since when does surveilling Carter farking Page require a high bar to show probable cause? The Journal is out with a reminder this afternoon that he’s been on the feds’ radar for his Russian contacts since 2013. Suddenly he joins the Republican nominee’s campaign *and* turns up in Christopher Steele’s dossier and the feds are supposed to not start sniffing around? What?